Issue 17, April 2003
Last updated 7th April 2003
If you're reading this before 7th April at 6.55pm(GMT), it's not finished yet!

This page created and maintained (badly & infrequently) by Séamus D. King.
Comments & queries to Mind you, no-one's sent me any emails yet.

Contributions from; Seamus King, Jason Patient, Roger the Hilldodger,Michael Mainprize,

Well, I don't know how it happened but this time around it's the Cycling Science issue.

My place of employ has imposed all sorts of restrictions on internet usage, even during dinner breaks and after hours, and since I'm running out of ideas this could well be the last one or maybe not.
Just don't expect me to stick to the regular once every two months I've managed for the last few issues. Summat more like the up to six months between issues when I first started.
And, if that's not enough, the Cycling Films Big List continues to haunt me. Over 100 films now plus a vastly extended section on documentaries. It hurts my head but it's all my own fault.

My current FREE webspace provider seems to be having 'technical difficulties' so the piccies accompanying this issue seem to be loading up very slowly. Apologies all round. Please be patient.
And what do you suppose they mean by, "Sorry, this site is temporarily unavailable. The web site you are trying to access has exceeded its allocated data transfer." ? What's that mean?

One of my intelligent nephews, Chris Kapur, has just asked me if I have to pay to have this website. I said no.
"Well do they pay you," he asked. Another no.
"So it's just for showing off then."
Like I said, intelligent.

This issue; Intro that'd be the bit above, News, Bicycles I have owned, Cycling Science 1 (riding uphill), My shiny-new bike, Camp Coffee (ooer), Cycling Science 2 (White LED lamps), Letters, Cycling Science 3 (cycle-helmets), Some Stuff, Coming Events, Chainlinks I really must get around to updating this properly and Back Issues.


Bicycles I have owned...

Cycling Science 1
An experiment to determine the optimal motive input necessary to cycle uphill optimally.

Out on cycle ride not so recently, with a ‘roadie’ pal, I found myself bemused by his uphill technique. First he’d stand up on the pedals , presumably exerting his full body weight upon the pedals, later he’d start to ‘throw’ the bicycle from side to side as he’d struggle his way to the top. I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t just use a lower gear.

At the tea stop I asked him about his hill-climbing technique, something I’ve seen hundreds of roadies do over the years, and he explained that it made it easier to get uphill. I thought perhaps he’d misunderstood what I was on a bout but he added that it was a technique favoured by professional road cyclists in such races as the Tour de France.
I then realised he had made a mistake, misinterpreting effect for cause and decided to create an experiment to show him his error.

My roadie aquaintance thinks he looks like Lance Armstrong.

Speculation 1 (roadie)
Pro-cyclists ‘throw' their bicycles from side to side to make it easier to go uphill.

Speculation 2 (me)
Pro-cyclists appear to throw their bicycles from side to side as they go uphill as a physical reaction to the large forces they are exerting upon the pedals (the same thing happens in sprint fineshes).

A road bicycle, roadie volunteer, 2 *ahem* helpers, a big hill.

The roadie volunteer was asked (later forced) to cycle up the hill using the following modes of propulsion;
  1. Sitting on saddle whilst pedalling.
  2. Standing up whilst pedalling.
  3. Throwing the bicycle around whilst pedalling.
  4. Throwing the bicycle around without pedalling.
  1. The roadie got to the top of the hill after several minutes panting, sweating and with a raised heart rate.

  2. As above.

  3. As above.

  4. (a) The first time we tried this, our roadie immediately lost his balance and fell over to the right, cursing loudly and grazed his knee.

    (b) After a little persuasion from my helpers, our roadie had another go. This time my helpers held him upright until he had a steady rhythm going and then let go.
    This time he fell to the left and rolled several feet, sustained substantial grazing, a cut knee and a rather nasty cut on his elbow (so much for cycle-helmets).

    (c) In the interests of a ‘fair test’ we insisted upon a third attempt in spite of our roadie volunteer turning nasty; at first shouting and swearing at us before whimpering, whining and then collapsing to the ground, curling into a foetal position and crying.
    After what’s colloquially known as, “a bit of a kicking,” from my two ‘helpers’ our roadie volunteer was ready for another go. Snotty-nosed with tears in his eyes he mounted his bicycle.
    This time we pushed him some way up the hill before letting go. Down he went, right side again, straight onto the deck. That gravel must have really hurt (next time we’ll use a road with a smoother surface), right palm cut up, other elbow and right knee. Later, when questioned by the police (though I can’t think why as my two helpers and I were somewhere else at the time with witnesses to prove it), we found out he’d also fractured his wrist.


My shiny-new bicycle.

Challenge Mistral.

When I first saw the Quantum Toxy, in an Open Road publication, I knew it was the bike for me. SWB and a capable tourer, just a couple of things held me back; all that metalwork to position the rear carrier over the back wheel exactly where it would be on a conventional touring bike ( Why? On a conventional bike the panniers are as far forward as they’ll go without ones heels hitting them but that’s not an issue on a recumbent.) and also I had no money.

Later, I had a brief infatuation with the M5 20/20 ( currently available directly from M5 at a surprisingly low 1150 Euros, which is not reflected in UK prices )with similar layout to the Toxy but things soured between us when I realised the impossibility of using my Ortleib panniers with it and worse yet the ridiculous choice of 20” wheels. 451’s instead of the almost industry standard 406’s. Du-uh!

Last year I came across the Challenge Mistral with, yet again, the sensible SWB touring layout. This time I’d got the money so after a little research I’d got as far as writing out the order, signing the cheque, sticking it all in the envelope but, Pestis! Furcifer! , I’d got no stamp. That night, over several pints of Sam Smiths with friend Ian Beever, I got talked out of it.
During the summer of 2002, I found myself visibly drooling over Hermione’s Mistral at Spokesfest and Cyclefest in spite of it’s appalling silver colour scheme. Later yet, in Germany and Holland I found that a new-bike fantasy was taking hold; 36 spokes in a 20” wheel would be a lot stronger than a 700C, better luggage layout and weight distribution, easier to fit in the house, and so on. When I got back from the holiday I checked my savings, saved for some months, sold the Peer Gynt and ordered the Mistral from Bikefix (because they support all the cycle shows letting people try out the bikes) then waited, and waited and waited. Eventually it arrived but the weather was too cold and wet and dark and then I was very poorly (enteritis followed by flu, the Real Mogy, not that non-sensical, “take one of these and and you’ll be relieved of all symptoms,” carp you see in adverts either) and then I got back into hill walking in the Peak District until eventually in March I would become a cyclist again.

During this down time there were few little jobs that had to be done to personalise the bike before hitting the road; cycle computer, lights & dynamo, bottle cage and a few reflectors.

The reflectors were easiest; stick-on patches of yellow Reflexite on the back of the seat and on the rear mudguard. Neat braze-ons for light on the front of the boom and for a dynamo on the top of the left chainstay. Unfortunately the dynamo braze-on was fitted too far to the left so I had to mount the dynamo on the inside with a big washer. Although it’s possible to route the dynamo cable (twin wire, none of that earthing through the frame nonsense) through the frame tubes, I felt it would have been too much hassle removing the boom to feed it through so instead I ran it along the chain tube. Keeping things simple, the front light (Hella Micro) uses a 3W bulb. For the rear I have a battery powered LED. Later I made a bracket to mount a Cateye EL-200 off the same boss as the front lamp and above it. Unfortunately I found that the lamps release mechanism fouled the chainset so it’s mounted below and upside down where doubtless it’ll let in the rain.

Next up was the cycle-computer and, of course, the cable was too short. I cut it, carefully stripped back the cable then soldered about a foot (3000mm) of cable in the gap which gave me just enough length to fit it onto the bike. The clamp for the sensor is barely enough to fit around the diameter of the suspension fork but it works.

I tried using a Platypus drinks system but I didn’t get on too well with it. I found it awkward to use with the bottle in a rack bag and the tube forever getting in the way. Also I found it difficult to determine how much water I’d got left without getting off the bike and having a look so I decided to stick with traditional water bottles but there’s nowhere obvious to mount them on the Mistral. Behind the seat seems the most obvious place but the angle is such that it would be impossible to reach the bottle. After much thought I noticed that my knees are well clear of the handlebars so I’ve mounted a cage on top of the handlebar stem which seems to work OK. Another possibility is to attach a Minoura Spacegrip to the front of the underseat carrier and fit a bottle cage to that though on reflection, cantilevering a bottle of water off the carrier probably isn't a good thing.

After the big lay-off, I finally got back onto the shiny-new bike with a Saturday day ride in the surprising March sunshine. At first the Mistral felt twitchy with a tendency to lunge suddenly sideways with no apparent provocation and I found myself thinking seriously about Nigel Bradder’s C5, currently up for sale at a bargain 600 pounds, but by the end of the first hour I’d started to relax into it. I found it strange to be using such high gears though with the 20” wheels top gear isn’t so high at all (100” or 4m).

The following weekend I was out on it Saturday and Sunday, all wobbly tendencies gone. I’d fitted a bottle cage on the front of the handlebar stem so I could drink on the move. I’d also removed then replaced the handlebars so that I could reset the brake and gear levers to the correct positions. Also I moved the boom out a bit more.

The next Saturday (28th April) I was off to Lincoln youth hostel to meet a couple of friends, rear bag and a pannier fitted to one side. I’d expected a bit of wobble or a tendency to lean to that side but noticed nothing awry. On the way home I decided the boom need to be out even further but when I came to do it I found the chain a bit too short. Luckily the bike came supplied with a substantial length of spare chain, just a few minutes of work to add the necessary links then extend the boom. It feels alright now but I haven’t yet ridden it.

Have to pack for next week with an early start on Friday (11th April) to catch a train to Berwick on Tweed for Bike Right 8½ then either a week pootling around the Borders or cycling home through the Pennines. The bike will be fully laden with camping kit for the first time so it will finally get to do a proper tour.

Camp Coffee
Coffee drinking for campers.

A few years ago, on a campsite in Clairvaulx (Luxembourg), I saw a cyclist with a large, pyrex coffee jug which he carried around in a big cardboard box, rather fragile and not very practical for camping.

Fortunately there are now exists a variety of equipment which enable the enthusiast camping coffee drinker to enjoy the pleasures of theier real beverage without having to rely upon the dubious pleasures afforded by instant coffee.

Mini-Espresso Maker
This neat little gadget is made of lightweight cast aluminium. Just fill the basket with ground coffee, add 3oz. of water and heat on your stove.
Includes a 4 oz. blue enamel espresso cup (not shown here), and handy stuff sack.
Neat but such a tiny cup. Rather messy as the basket needs washing out afterwards and it won’t balance on all stoves.

GSI Lexan Java Press
How about an unbreakable Lexan (polycarbonate) coffee-pot? Just put a couple of spoonfuls of ground coffee into the pot, add boiling water (10 oz.), let it brew a few minutes, press down the plunger and serve. Probably a bit messy to clean unless you do it under running water. Less usefully for camping, it’s dishwasher safe.

MSR Mug Mate
The Mug Mate is a simple re-usable, metal-mesh, coffee-filter which is designed to fit in a standard (1/2 pint) mug, though you can also buy an MSR mug to go with it.
Straightforward to use; stick the ground coffee in, add boiling water and there’s your coffee. Like the espresso maker it’s rather messy to clean out the grounds after use.

Ortlieb Coffee Filter Holder
is a yellow,triangular, plastic holder with tunnels into which a couple of sticks or tent-pegs can be placed to hold it over a cup, pot or whatever, stick in a coffee-filter, bung in the coffee, add boiling water then wait for it to filter through
As it's top heavy in use, care must be taken to make sure it doesn't fall over.

Well, I have an MSR Mug Mate which I use at work but for camping trips I prefer the Ortleib. It packs flat along with a pack of coffee filters (in an Ortlieb document holder) and is a doddle to use. OK, so you still need a paper coffee-filter but cleaning up is just so much easier; just bin the soggy paper filter and coffee grounds together.


White Led Lamps
When I first thought of doing an article on the new, improved, white LED lamps, I intended to go all the way. With access to sophisticated light sensors and data-logging equipment, I’d intended on fully measuring brightness, duration, mass of the units, graphs of performance and the like. Unfortunately, due to a technical imbalance, we currently have no software necessary for downloading such data so instead a quick and simple experiment to measure the brightness head-on on a laboratory bench.

3 Bosses, stands and clamps (BSC’s)
Plastic tube, 0.9m long (it’s what I had available)
Linear light sensor (Philip Harris SM)
White LED lamps; Smart Polaris, Cateye EL-200 and EL-300

The BSC’s were set up to hold the plastic tube with the light sensor and an LED lamp pointing straight through at opposite ends.
The LED and light sensor were switched on and the LED lamp ‘jigged around’ to acquire the optimum angle to provide the highest result.
This was repeated with each lamp and where relevant in flashing and constant modes.

LED Lamp State Output (Lux)
Smart Polaris Flash 25
Constant 31
Cateye EL-200 Flash 49
Constant 75
Cateye EL-300 Constant 152

Weight of Lamps inc. Batteries
Smart Polaris 2 x AA 80.3g
Cateye EL-200 4 x AA 149.3g
Cateye EL-300 4 x AA 192.9g

Both pictures left to right; Cateye EL-300, Cateye EL-200, Smart Polaris.

The Cateye EL-300 is twice as bright as it’s closest rival, the EL-200, and five times as bright as the poorest performer, the Smart Polaris.
Oddly though, to the human eye, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between either of the Cateyes. In flash mode the EL-200 is much more eye-catching than it’s brighter rival.

Incidentally, what is it with these people? First of all they make a lamp with a quick-release to get the lamp quickly on and off, very useful, but that's not enough for these bozo's. They now insist upon a quick release for the lamp bracket too! Why? Surely it would be better that the bracket be secured permanently, especially since it's so critical that the light points in exactly the right direction (in the experiment I found out that pointing off track by as little as a couple of degrees had a dramatic effect on the light level measured and that was over less than a meter).

The Smart Polaris is a few pounds cheaper than the EL-200, uses only two AA batteries (the Cateyes use four) but it's output is pretty ropey.
The EL-300 is indeed measurably brighter than it's LED rivals but no better, possibly worse, at illuminating the road ahead than a filament lamp costing a third as much. It's only advantage over such a filament light is the longer burn time with monetary savings in the long run.

Having seen the effectiveness of the Cateye EL-200 at night in flash mode, I chose to fit one to my bike, a Challenge Mistral, with a bolted on bracket.

Letters, emails, death-threats....

Thank you Seamus for your letter.( recumbent films-SDK)
I'm a devoted reader of Byke Kultuur Never. I wish you a long and happy life!
Best wishes from Jan-Inge Ljungberg, HPV Sweden
Thanks Jan, for your generous words. I hope the films list is useful.
The Byke Kultuur Cycling Films Big List now features over 100 films from 19 countries, though I haven’t any Swedish films listed yet.
Some chap has also set up a Recumbent Bikes Sightings in Major Motion Pictures site with original posters for each film listed

Love Byke Kultuur Never, and I am always amused by your comments on Velovision.
The latest BKN has a bicycles on TV section, so I thought I'd let you know about a prog today you may have missed (I only caught it as I am off sick).
Channel 4. Monday 24th Feb 9.30 am. Geography Junction: The Rhone - Birth of a river. I take my hat off to the bloke who dreamt this one up. He is being paid to make a programme following the Rhone river from it's source in the high Swiss alps 1000km to its arrival in the med. He is doing the trip by bike - a Moulton Landrover which he gets out of the van on the glacier and assembles and sets off on.
I wonder if any TV companies would be interested in filming my summer holiday too?
Paul W
BKN used to be a doddle when Open Road was doing Bike Culture Quartely, Bycycle and Encycleopedia 'cos they were always at least 6 months late.
Pete Eland has clearly picked up on this 'cos he always makes sure Velovision comes out on the day he says it will. Don't much feel like slagging him off anyway 'cos we really need an 'educated' cycle magazine and with Open Road gone Velovision is it.
"Geography Junction," the phrase, "Jammy Tw*t," most immediately comes to mind.
I've already emailed Channel 4 about my proposed trip to Spokesfest and around Holland and Germany on my shiny new Challenge Mistral this summer and eagerly anticipate their reply.

Dear Editor
I’ve always been concerned about certain of my brother’s personal proclivities. He was into wearing lycra (the really tight, shiny lycra that leaves so little to the imagination) even before he had a bicycle and then it was his leather saddle and what oil was best and something involving chains and lubrication.
Anyway, he’s now done something that has me really confused. He’s bought a weird contraption with three wheels, recumbent he calls it, but he lies down on it with his bum inches from the ground clutching a ‘joy-stick’ (if that’s not a euphamism for something rude I don’t know what is) up between his legs.
There’s even a drawing of someone’s bottom on the bit were he puts his head though he say’s it’s a W. Now I know the difference between a W and a bum and it’s definitely not a W.
I’m really worried that he’s going to get hurt with this strange fixation. Please, what can I do?
Name withheld.
It's heart-warming to see family members showing such concern for their siblings, however, in this case there seems little to cause concern unless your brother takes it lying down!
Problems Page Editor.

You are going to be so grateful I sent you this.
Name withheld by editorial discretion
OK, so it does involve cycling but that's not what it's really about now is it. It's just the sort of pawnographic filth that could get someone the sack if they had the misfortune to look at it at work so it's a severe wrist slap for you Mr.P!!
Managing Editor.

John Jermy's brother, bizarrely also call John, bought me lunch in Ely yesterday. He looks identical but wears a suit.
Roger the Hilldodger
doo-dee, doo-doo, doo-dee, doo-doo, you are now entering the Twilight Zone

Just been lookin' at your latest issue (Feb 2003), as if you didn't know. For your alternative training section, a computer game based on the Tour de France was released last year on Playstation 2. While it involves no actual physical activity (bar the twiddling of thumbs), I thought it might be relevent.
Michael John Mainprize
Ta for the info Mike. Readers may also be interested in two Nintendo video games Paperboy (1986) and Paperboy II (1991) which feature a paperboy cycling his round. How exciting!
And to add to the list, Reebok have just brought out a complete system; exercise bike, monitor and cycling software!

A young hilldodger perhaps? -
compare with
John J
Yep, it’s definitely him.

Ayup Shamless,
Thought you'd be interested in the attached about the Leicester cycle film festival.
The council are funding it and each film is supported by a local bike shop/sustrans or cyclemagic by giving the film goers a chance to win a bike or something. Dunno what we're offering - maybe free Datatag for ten people at one of the Bicycle Theives showings.
Ta for the info Rog. I've bunged it into the news section near the top of the page.

Cycling Science 2
Cycling Helmets
A series of experiments devised to determine what protection, if any, a cycle-helmet actually provides.

I enlisted the services of a cycling friend (now ex-friend) and his girlfriend. The girlfriend was persuaded, after consuming several gin & tonics and a couple of bottles of Lambrini, to forego her usual bedtime protection and instead wear a cycle-helmet (for legal reasons I can’t mention the brand of helmet, suffice to say it was one of those sexy red ones with lots of air holes to provide better ventilation and make it more expensive).

The girlfriend became pregnant, my ex-friend dumped her and says if he ever sees me again he’ll kill me.

A cycle-helmet offers no protection whatsoever during lovemaking.

Well I thought it was funny. If you're unimpressed take a look at what cycling humorist* Scott Munn has to say about helmets.
* Spelt wrong because he's an American.

Some stuff...

Coming Events...

Previous & current editions of Byke Kultuur Never...

Important Notice for Potential Litigants...

(a) I have no money!!!!

(b) If you find something so offensive that litigation crosses your mind, let me know and I will remove the item and publish a retraction, scaredy-cat that I am.

This page was created and maintained by Séamus D. King.

Contributions from me and others who prefer to remain anonymous.
Views expressed here are not necessarily those of the editorial staff even when they are.
Comments to
This mail link only works right some of the time. Mind you, no-one ever emails me so it's not really a problem.